Africa has 65% of all arable land left in the world. Africa has not only the potential to feed itself, but also to feed the world. But Africa can not eat “potential”. We need to turn Africa’s potential into a reality, keeping in mind that sustainable agriculture is at the very centre of the global development agenda.
– Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank,
during his opening speech at the 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week
Listening to the opening speeches, at the 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week, I realize the transformation of Africa’s agricultural sector is now well under way: Partnering the public and private sector will attract investments and finance solutions for African agriculture. Together, supply-chain partners and financiers can find ways to manage risk throughout the supply chain and to develop innovative finance instruments. We are developing commercial sustainable agriculture in partnership with the private sector. We can expand our opportunities, to increase food security and to reduce poverty.
We recognize that public spending would have to be matched by, and used to leverage, private-sector investment to truly transform the sector. We need models for bringing in foreign direct investment in ways that would support, rather than compete with, small-to-medium-sized agribusinesses that are vital to the long-term sustainability of the sector.
We also need to ensure that investment both by international and African agribusiness companies would raise incomes and create jobs for the rural population, in an eco-sustainable way.
And we’d better do it fast! By 2050, Africa will be home to one-fifth of the world’s population. This rapid growth, combined with a strong trend towards urbanization, poses significant challenges for food security, peace and security, and economic growth.
For me, this is not a void challenge. I take it personal. When we talk about Africa and agriculture, we talk about my future, my family’s future, the future of my town, my country and my continent. I take the topics of Africa and agriculture very personal.
My name is Jean Wilson Ndoruhirwe. I am Rwandan, African and an agriculturalist. I hold a BA in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness.
My aim is to work as an agricultural or environmental consultant after graduating. I think I am on the right track already. I was selected to be a project coordinator in environmental related greening projects, and am also a part time consultant in a private business offering various services to promote farmer entrepreneurship for low and middle income families.
I sharpened my critical thinking and took responsibility for several agricultural or environmental projects. These skills helped me to identify innovative approaches to increase access to rural and agricultural development programs.
Agriculture in Africa is my future. I wish the 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week the best of luck. I applaud how it entices for agriculture in Africa to transition into full African ownership, how it strives to drive responsible business models and demonstrates increasing impact. But I will also look at this week, to see how I fit in. How I fit into the future of agriculture in Africa. Because I take it personal. When you talk about Africa and agriculture, you talk about me.